Nation: In case you hadn't heard, the Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta is electing a new Leader. Despite repeated assertions by journalists and bloggers alike that the Party is in a freefall and destined for imminent destruction (many of the same headlines I recall reading in the spring of 2012, for the record, so at least they're consistent), the reality is that the only thing certain in Alberta politics these days is that the winner of this leadership election will be Alberta's next Premier. For how long, is up to the voters. Or the members of the PC Caucus. Or the Party membership. But I digress.
Over the course of the next week, I'm going to be doing a quick SWOT of the candidates, as they head into the final month of this campaign. SWOT, for those who've never had the pleasure of writing one up, stands for "Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, & Threats". They're pretty much a mandatory thing to do on any political campaign these days, both for the candidate you're running, and that candidates' opponents, in order to figure out what strategies are most likely to get you across the finish line ahead of the others. They can be brutal, as honesty is absolutely key - if you don't mention your candidate's philandering and come up with a way to blunt the damage, your opponents will crush you with it when they discover it (and they will, when they run their own thorough SWOT on your candidate).
I'm not going to go so in-depth with the 3 leadership contenders as to put you all to sleep, and I'm not going to tell any tales out-of-school, because I just don't know the tales - my research budget isn't quite as robust as those of the Opposition parties (I'm working off a $15 Starbucks card). What I hope to give you, though, is at least a taste of what these campaigns have already done internally - and what the Wildrose, Alberta Liberals, NDP, and Alberta Party are doing already (to some extent) and will start doing in earnest once the winner is announced.
Because it bears repeating again - no matter which party you personally support, no matter what the Sun's editorial page says, and no matter what you hear during the "call-in" portion of your local talk radio day-time show... the winner of this race is going to be Alberta's Premier. Whether you like it or you don't like it (blame the Westminster System), it's reality. So we may as well meet the guy who will be steering the next few $40 Billion budgets.